African civil society organisations oppose new seed protocol
15 June 2016, 19:47
Nairobi (Reuters) - Civil society organisations have
opposed plans by 19 African states to introduce a regional
protocol banning the use of uncertified seeds, a move aimed at
protecting the intellectual property rights of plant breeders.
The Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM)
association, a regional network of 258 civil society groups in
Africa representing eight million farmers, said on Wednesday the
protocol would criminalise traditional farming methods and hurt
small farmers to the benefit of multinational organisations.
The draft Arusha Protocol for the Protection of New
Varieties of Plants by the African Regional Intellectual
Property Organisation (ARIPO) also seeks to ban the saving and
sharing of uncertified seeds.
ARIPO members include Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi,
Rwanda, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
"The Protocol ... criminalises the local seed systems and
the practices that small-scale farmers have carried out for
centuries," PELUM said in a statement.
It urged ARIPO member states to secure the rights of
small-scale farmers, who contributed over 70 percent to food
production in Africa, to freely save and share seeds.